Hole by hole guide
It was at Prestwick Golf Club on the 17th of October 1860 that the Open Championship was first contested with Willie Park Snr from Wallyford winning the Challenge Belt by two shots from Old Tom Morris. The links would go on host 24 Open Championships with only The Old Course at St. Andrews hosting more. Prestwick has also held the Amateur Championship on eleven occasions, most recently in 2001.
Playing at Prestwick will leave you feeling that you have stepped back in time to an era somewhere very close to the origins of the game itself. With a few quirky holes and some blind shots to play, it is a test of classic links golf like no other.
1st Hole: Railway
One of the most famous opening holes in golf with an out of bounds wall running the length of the hole on the right-hand side. Favour the right side of the fairway from the tee for the best angle into the green.
2nd Hole: Tunnel
Played from an elevated tee, this is a hole where the target is the middle of the green regardless of where the pin position is. Guarded by cavernous bunkers, a par 3 is always a good score here.
3rd Hole: Cardinal
The ‘cardinal’ hole is one of the classic holes in world golf. A drive up the right-hand side is the best line here to reduce the length of the hole at the dog-leg. A lay-up to 100 yards or so will leave a wedge in and a possible birdie chance.
4th Hole: Bridge
Another fine hole where an accurate tee shot is required to avoid the bunkers. Again, the right side is favourable for the approach to the green which slopes from left to right. An added danger here is the Pow Burn which runs up the right-hand side of the hole and is out of bounds.
5th Hole: Himalayas
This world famous blind par 3 is another classic design. The danger here is that the prevailing wind will push your tee shot towards the bunkers on the left side of the green. The green slopes back to front so anything short of the pin will leave an uphill putt.
6th Hole: Elysian Fields
The start of the area known as the Elyisan Fields where holes six to nine lie. A tee shot down the left will give the best line in to the green. Make sure that you hit enough club for your second shot as anything short or left will find the deep greenside bunker.
7th Hole: Monkton Miln
A demanding tee shot that ideally requires a draw (or a fade if you play left-handed) to avoid the three fairway bunkers on the right. The second shot is uphill over two hidden fairway traps towards the green. This hole is Stroke Index 1 on the scorecard and a par 4 is always welcome here.
8th Hole: End
The eighth hole takes you to the furthest point from the clubhouse. A drive down the right from the tee will leave an approach shot that always looks shorter than it plays. Trust the yardage and for the best birdie opportunity leave the ball under the hole for an uphill putt.
9th Hole: Eglinton
Another demanding par 4 named after the club’s first captain, the 13th Earl of Eglinton. Two solid shots are required here into a green that slopes from left to right. Take your par 4 and continue onto the back nine..
10th Hole: Arran
Avoiding the three bunkers with your tee shot is your first job here. Once on the fairway, you will have an uphill approach shot, so club up to ensure you make the green. On a clear day, there are magnificent views across to the Isle of Arran and Goat Fell (its highest point) from this hole.
11th Hole: Carrick
A superb par 3, well-guarded by six bunkers in all. A straight iron shot is required here into a green that slopes right to left.
12th Hole: Wall
Quite a tight shot from the tee here with bunkers left and a right to left camber on the fairway to contend with as well. The green also slopes from right to left so allow for a bit of movement once your ball reaches the green.
13th Hole: Sea Headrig
A tee shot avoiding Willie Campbell’s Grave, a hidden bunker on the left of the fairway, is a good start here and must be followed with an accurate iron shot from this most undulating of fairways. Regardless of the weather, a par will feel like a birdie.
14th Hole: Goosedubs
A dub is a Scots word for a pond or puddle and as the area to the left of the fairway was prone to flooding it gave the hole its name. Although many bunkers protect the green, your approach should be with no more than a mid-iron to set up a possible birdie chance.
15th Hole: Narrows
‘Narrows’ has the most demanding tee shot on the course with the best line left-centre of the fairway. From here, you should be able to see the top of the pin on this front to back sloping green.
16th Hole: Cardinals Back
Big hitters may decide to have a go at the green here but it’s not without risk. The Cardinal bunker is in play for anything hit short and right and Willie Campbell’s Grave lurks again but this time on the right. Anything hit past the putting surface will find one of the two pot bunkers behind the green.
17th Hole: Alps
Another classic golf hole. The fairway is narrow and requires an accurate tee shot. The blind second shot plays every inch of its yardage and anything short will find the famous ‘Sahara’ bunker.
18th Hole: Clock
A gentle finishing hole and a birdie chance. A good drive should leave no more than a pitch onto the green which slopes from left to right.